7 Best 007 Films #3 – #1: A New Take on Bond


With SPECTRE right around the corner, it’s time to celebrate Bond, James Bond.

I’ve compiled a list of my 7 favorite 007 movies. You can check out the 1st part of the list by clicking HERE: #7 – #4.  Now it’s time to reveal my final 3 James Bond movies I hold in highest regard.

3. GoldeneyeGoldeneye 007 James Bond Pierce Brosnan Sean Bean 006 Alec Trevelyan

Goldeneye was my favorite 007 movie until the age of Daniel Craig. Oddly enough, I’d seen several Bond movies before Goldeneye, including the more recent Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough, and it was the Nintendo 64 game of the same name that lead me to the movie. And though Gamers can all agree Goldeneye is a great game, it’s an even better movie!

Goldeneye was released in 1995, the 1st 007 movie following the collapse of the Soviet Union… who had served as the main Bond villains since SMERSH in Sean Connery’s days. The franchise had laid dormant between films for the longest period on record, returning with a new M played by Judi Dench and a new 007 for the 90’s, Pierce Brosnan.

The movie doesn’t age as well as Connery’s films, laced with cheesy 90’s music in a few ridiculous scenes; especially the car race (not chase) between Bond and Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). Look, another great, cheesy “Bond girl” name!Goldeneye Alec Trevelyan 006 Dish Drop

All that taken into consideration, Goldeneye is my 3rd favorite Bond movie due to it’s amazing villain (either my favorite or second favorite 007 villain… it’s hard to lock it down) and just as incredible plot.

Sean Bean plays 006, Alec Trevelyn, left to die by Pierce Brosnan in the 1st scene only to return as head of a master-plan to use the Goldeneye weapons satellite with an EMP device that could cripple a city. No world domination here. As James suggests, Trevelyn is a common thief, though the former 006 has something bigger planned; erasing all the bank records and the like by turning the Goldeneye satellite on London.

Similar to Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love, 006/Alec Trevelyn is the ultimate doppelganger, a former partner of Bond’s, with his skill-set, charm, and even the very same gadgets (though his watch provided by Q branch is a slightly older model). Sean Bean is one of my favorite actors due to this role and he’s the perfect man to play the ultimate anti-007 (Bean was on the shortlist to play 007 when Brosnan got  the gig).

 

2. Casino Royale

Casino Royale James Bond 007 Daniel Craig Mads Mikkelsen Le Chiffre Felix Leiter Jeffrey Wright Play Poker

Casino Royale reinvented 007 in a way that no other new Bond actor ever did. Borrowing heavily from the Bourne franchise, Daniel Craig wasn’t just the 1st blond Bond, he was the most brutal. M calls Craig’s 007 “a blunt instrument,” not the sophisticated Bond we were accustomed to. This darker, more realistic take on 007 was a direct response to how cheesy the Pierce Brosnan movies had gotten by Die Another Day.

In an era of dark reboots, including Batman Begins, the ruthless Daniel Craig 007 was a welcome change. We get to see James Bond become the 007 we know and love today… and get to see again on November 6th! Take this exchange for example of where Daniel Craig’s Bond starts:

“Vodka-Martini.”

“Shaken or stirred?”

“Do I look like I give a damn?”

The Vesper (Eva Green) origin tale is the 1st time the franchise had dabbled in 007’s past (the 1st book of the franchise, Casino Royale could only be made into a movie through a partnership with Sony) and boy-howdy did it make the decades old character more interesting than ever before! We get to see why he treats women like playthings and trusts no one. Though he is not fully the 007 we know by the end of the film, he does earn the words:

“The name’s Bond, James Bond.”

Casino Royale Bond, James Bond FinaleThe movie’s plot is simple, but great; again, we’re not talking about starting World War III or using a Nuclear Device. Plus, the idea of a shady organization that will become Quantum… and the SPECTRE is immediatly introudced and wonderfully explored: Bond doesn’t even get a chance to kill Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), who is an interesting villain in his own right as he “cries” blood. Instead, Mr. White cleans up his own mess.

The groundwork is laid for great characters that carried over to Quantum of Solace (as discussed last time), including CIA Agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), ally Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), and Mr. White. Of course, M is back as well, but she remains Dame Judi Dench… for now. Q and Moneypenny are absent, but that’s why Skyfall exists!

Casino Royale also brings back the detective element from Dr. No in a way it hasn’t been explored in 50 years. Though the film has excellent action set-pieces, it’s really about 007 following a series of clues that lead him to a poker game with only the highest of stake. He’s a true detective in this one.

 

1.Skyfallskyfall 007 james bond javier bardem silva melted face

I reuse this joke from Pineapple Express too often, but if Goldeneye had a baby with Casino Royale, then you’ve got Skyfall. (Whew, didn’t have to use the part about “the result of baby fucking.”)

Simply put, Skyfall is the best written, directed, and acted 007 film. It even includes a bunch of winks to old-school Bond; the film being released on the 50th anniversary of the film franchise.

Right off the bat we’re treated to the greatest pre-credits sequence yet; Bond chasing down a villain with MI6 secrets, first with a motorcycle on building rooftops and ending up on top of a train with 007 being shot by Moneypenny (Naomie Harris). The movie continues at a pace somewhere between the slower Casino Royale and the non-stop action of Quantum of Solace.

Silva (Javier Bardem) is the villain I said earlier I can’t decide if I like more or less than Alec Trevelyn. In fact, Silva and 006 have a lot in common; both are former agents who worked for M, though Silva never worked with Bond, so he has less in common with 007 than 006 did. Regardless, his hatred/obsession with M, a mother of sorts that betrayed him and left him to die, drives his madness, even causing him to compare 007 to himself as the other “survivor” or “rat.” In fact, Silva’s speech about how his grandmother rid her island of rats is one of the strongest villain monologues in recent cinema.

His rat metaphor is the delicious glue (I know… you’re not supposed to eat glue…) that holds the story together. Again, we have an incredibly small plot when compared to the days of Pierce Brosnan; Silva just wants to kill M… and himself… at the same time. 007 is just the man in the way.

James Bond 007 Daniel Craig at Skyfall HomeThrough his protection of M, we learn more about Bond’s past, which of course is one of Casino Royale‘s strengths, taking us to Skyfall, James Bond’s childhood home. We get to see the grave markers of his parents including “Andrew Bond,” putting to rest the silly fan theory that James Bond is a code-name like 007, not each actor’s character’s actual name. How silly!

by the end of the Skyfall, the final pieces of the James Bond universe fall into place with a new Q (Ben Whinshaw), the aforementioned Moneypenny, and a brand new M (Ralph Fiennes).

My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that there is no mention of Quantum or any mysterious organization, something that is present in the three other Daniel Craig starring films. But, honestly, that would have muddled the film’s perfect plot and pacing

SPECTRE HQ 007 Christoph Waltz Daniel CraigBesides, the trailer for SPECTRE suggests that Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) and Quantum/SPECTRE have been behind all of 007’s pain.  So, when SPECTRE drops on November 6th here in the states, we’ll know exactly what pain Oberhauser and SPECTRE have wrought!

The 7 Best 007 Films # 7 – # 4: Sean Connery Begins


It’s mid-October, so we are merely weeks away from what will likely (hopefully?) be one of the greatest Bond movies, SPECTRE.

Don’t count my chickens before they hatch, you say?

Let’s start counting anyway! You have Daniel Craig, the best 007 (don’t crucify me for that, just because Sean Connery played James Bond 1st, doesn’t automatically make him the best), director Sam Mendes hot off Skyfall, and Academy Award Winning villain actor Javier Bardem replaced by an equally (if not more) enjoyable double Oscar Winner Christoph Waltz. What could go wrong? Hell, SPECTRE has Dave Bautista of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy fame playing a very classic feeling henchman with some flavor.

Again, I’m counting unhatched Indominus Rexs… err… chickens before they hatch. But at least I have these seven hatch-lings: The 7 Best 007 movies from Dr. No through Skyfall.

In order to keep this post a manageable length, we’ll cover my 7th favorite through 4th.

7. Dr. Nodr no sean connery james bond 007

The very 1st 007 film, Dr. No sets most the pieces in place for a franchise that has gone strong (mostly… mostly) for 50 years. Sean Connery clearly establishes the tone for all the James Bond actors that followed (even Daniel Craig’s less-sophisticated, more “blunt instrument” portrayal).

Dr. No‘s real strength is showing us the super-spy/detective side of 007, with less gadgets but a perfect Bond Girl in name and body – Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder – as well as a villain that sets the tone of all the SPECTRE and SMERSH eccentric agents that follow – Joseph Wiseman as the title character, Dr. No.dr no james bond ursula andress honey Honey Ryder

The focus on 007’s skills as a spy and detective aren’t featured as front-and-center again until Casino Royale. My favorite scene, which really sets up Bond’s skill-set, comes when he places a hair on the door to his hotel room, allowing him to tell if his room was entered and tampered with. No film that follows has shown cool spy techniques in the same way as Dr. No, instead focusing on faster paced stories with more action, gadgets, and sexy women.

The franchise is still finding it’s footing at this point, almost a rough draft of the franchise before Goldfinger established the franchise’s more popular and enduring elements.

6. Quantum of Solacequantum of solace daniel craig 007 james bond

I know, I know, Quantum of Solace is a pretty dumb Bond movie when it comes to the writing and overall plot; nearly a phoned in 007 film like all but one of Pierce Brosnan’s adventures. I blame the writer’s strike for that, though the film is still enjoyable as hell, even with its faults.

I argue Quantum of Solace is the perfect companion piece to Casino Royale; the latter serving as a slower story re-introducing the character and his origin with Vesper (Eva Green) and the former balancing it out with full-on action in every scene and the continuation of whatever Mr. White’s organization was in Casino Royale. Quantum is also one of the only “direct-sequels” that references and builds off the previous Bond film, giving it an extra element of intrigue. That means we also get more character/actor carryover from one film to the next with Jesper Christensen back as the aforementioned Mr. White, Jeffrey Wright back as Felix Leiter, and even Giancarlo Giannini as Rene Mathis.Mr White Quantum of Solace With M and James Bond 007 Daniel Craig

Spoiler Alert (not), the shady organization is called Quantum (hence one of the franchise’s worst titles) and will eventually become SPECTRE (the studio making 007 films didn’t have the rights to the name SPECTRE at the time). I love the set-up for this organization that has infiltrated every government, starting with Mr. White escaping and continuing with the reveal of Quantum at the Opera (one of the franchise’s most artistic scenes).

Mathieu Amalric as Dominic Greene (yes, apparently all Quantum agents have colorful last names… literally) is an underrated villain with his eccentricities and  role within the Quantum organization. The final action scene is the film’s 2nd best, with Greene showing the rodent he is in the sloppy/angry battle with 007 that has him slicing his own foot with an axe. Plus, there was something weird going on between him and his #1 henchman, that was never unnecessarily explained.

5. Goldfinger

goldfinger-james-bond-007-sean-connery-white-tuxedo

Goldfinger is the 1st Bond film to have ALL the elements in place. Q-branch gadgets like a car with an ejector seat. A Bond girl with a not-so-subtle name, Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). Another title super-villain – Gert Fröbe as Auric Goldfinger, with a strange obsession with gold, a laser, and a ridiculously amazing evil-plan. The 1st amazing henchman, Oddjob (Harold Sakata), who throws a sharp hat (no, not a shoe… that was Random Task in Austin Powers). And that classic dialogue.

“Do you expect me to talk?”

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”

Everything we’ve watched for the last 50 years that wasn’t established in Dr. No, was put in place by Goldfinger; the ultimate Bond formula to stick to.

Those Goldfinger Fans looking forward to SPECTRE will likely recognize Daniel Craig’s new getup on the poster is borrowed from Sean Connery in the above photo.

4. From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love James Bond 007 Sean Connery Robert Shaw Grant

From Russia With Love has one of the greatest SPECTRE agents 007 has ever faced, Robert Shaw (of Jaws fame) playing Grant, 007’s perfect doppelganger. And there is not archetype of villain I enjoy more than a doppelganger; a villain that reflects the hero in nearly every way. Robert Shaw’s character really is the opposite side of the Sean Connery coin. Dashing, brutal, and just serving his “country” (or, rather, organization).

No scene in the film sticks out in my mind like the train sequence between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw, one of the most classic showdowns in 007’s history.

So that’s a start; my 4th through 7th favorite 007 films.

Read about Numbers 3 through 1 NOW… Not that you can’t guess where the list is going…

Listen to SPECTRE’s Theme Song, “Writing’s On The Wall” By Sam Smith!


Well, here’s my jam until November 6th when SPECTRE comes out in America!

Like Adele’s theme for Skyfall, titled “Skyfall,” Sam Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall” sounds like a traditional Bond theme right off the bat. Those strong horns, some sensual singing, and catchy spy-type lyrics. And the undercurrent of the Bond theme interwoven.

Even more than “Skyfall,” Sam Smith’s “Writings on the Wall” sounds like an old-school 007 song from Connery’s era… the last time the super spy had to deal with the evil organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E.SPECTRE Daniel Craig Poster 007

The song follows the two Bond themes preceding ‘Skyfall” in not naming the song after the film (a recent, but not just current, irregularity for the franchise); like Casino Royale‘s “You Know My Name” and Quantum of Solace‘s “Another Way To Die.” “SPECTRE” isn’t even a lyric.

Listen to it now! And keep listening ’til November 6th (if you’re stuck in the U.S.).

Listen to it on Spotify!

Or Buy It From iTunes now!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/writings-on-the-wall-single/id1042122260?app=itunes

Entire ‘007: SPECTRE’ Teaser Trailer In Original Screen Grabs


Between ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service,’ ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,’ Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Man From U.N.L.C.E.’ and, of course, ‘007: S.P.E.C.T.R.E.,’ 2015 is the year of the spy genre.

Following Friday’s release of the first trailer for ‘SPECTRE,’ I have gone and captured screen grabs of all the trailer’s scenes, in order.

You’re welcome.

MI6 HQ is still in ruble following Silva’s attack in ‘Skyfall’007 SPECTRE Trailer Bombed MI6 HQ

 

 

Moneypenny gives 007 evidence from his Skyfall estate. 

Bond’s secrets run deep.

007 SPECTRE Trailer Skyfall Evidence007 SPECTRE Trailer Moneypenny007 James Bond and Skyfall  Evidence SPECTRE Trailer007 SPECTRE Trailer PhotographSPECTRE Trailer PhotographJames Bond Skyfall Secrets 007 SPECTRE Trailer

007 Pays Mr. White A Visit

It’s the least he could do.

 

 

007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond on the Lake007 SPECTRE Trailer Mr. White's Cabin in the Woods007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond Approaches Mr. White's Cabin007 SPECTRE Trailer Crows In Mr. White's Cabin007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond in Mr. White's Cabin

 

Bond at the mysterious funeral.

Is this a SPECTRE gathering? People are standing around, which we see a lot of this trailer.007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond at the Cross007 SPECTRE Trailer Widow Funeral

007’s Latest Ride007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond's Car

More SPECTRE Agents standing around?

Creepy cultist bastards.007 SPECTRE Trailer Standing Around

 

Bond presents Mr. White with a gift.

A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. memento. But Bond’s “a kite dancing in a hurricane.”007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond Gives Ring to Mr. White007 SPECTRE Trailer Chess and SPECTRE Logo RingSpectre Trailer Ring Logo

Mr. White from 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace'
Mr. White from ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’

 

Inside SPECTRE HQ 

007 SPECTRE Trailer Bond at SPECTRE MeetingSPECTRE Trailer Table Headquarters

Christoph Waltz. As Blofeld?
Christoph Waltz. As Blofeld?

And that’s all she wrote. It is just a teaser trailer after all… for a movie that is still shooting and half a year away.

S.P.E.C.T.R.E. returns to haunt 007, after a nearly 40 year hiatus, this November.

Chilling SPECTRE Teaser Trailer: Were Bond and Blofeld Raised Together?


Earlier this week we were introduced to “The Syndicate,” a terrorist organization that is “The Ant-IMF” (Impossible Mission Force) in the trailer for ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.’ In an effort not to be forgotten as the OG terrorist/anti-spy organization, the first teaser trailer for ‘007: SPECTRE has arrived.’

Watch it now below.

This does seem to be the follow up to Bond’s greatest adventure, ‘Skyfall,’ that we deserve. From the start we follow up on the event that took place at Bond’s childhood home, introducing a secret that seems to suggest Bond had a brother or was raised with another boy. From there, things get chilling and epic as Bond is introduced into the belly of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., his destiny, as told by Christoph Waltz, possible Blofeld of the new age S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

Christoph Waltz. As Blofeld?
The Classic SPECTRE Table

Why do I believe classic 007 baddie Blofeld was raised with Bond? Let’s look at the evidence.

First, the film’s official synopsis a la IMDB:

“A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.”

That photograph. Two boys, one adult male figure. That seems to be at least our MacGuffin leading to said cryptic message from Bond’s past. This secret, the trailer clearly posses, is why did Bond hide this childhood relation?007 SPECTRE Trailer PhotographSPECTRE Trailer Photograph

Also on IMDB, Christoph Waltz is credited as Oberhauser. Why is this important. Read the below excert from the James Bond Wiki:

“Hannes Oberhauser taught climbing and skiing in Kitzbühel before World War II. He even taught James Bond during his youth while he was on term breaks while attending Fettes College. He formed a very strong paternal relationship with James, to such an extent that he later referred to him as his second father. After the annexation of Austria and outbreak of war with Great Britain he was drafted into the Gestapo, probably due to his ability to speak English.”

Christoph Waltz SPECTRE Trailer Headquarters
Christoph Waltz. As Blofeld?

I believe Christoph Waltz’s character to be Hannes Oberhauser’s son, raised side-by-side with James Bond after the death of Bond’s parents in this update of the original material. Of course, Waltz’s character is the man in the shadows at the head of SPECTRE and he’s been waiting. Waiting for Bond.

Mr. White from 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace'
Mr. White from ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’

This teaser is a strong first look at SPECTRE, Bond’s latest adventure. We see cool locales, the third appearance of Mr. White who obviously is an agent (or former agent) of SPECTRE, and the cult-like room where SPECTRE meets.

I’m pleased to see that all the Bond movies in the Daniel Craig era are interconnected. It makes it all a more fun ride.

I’ve been worried Javier Bardem in ‘Skyfall’ would be impossible to top as a villain, but Academy Award winner having Christoph Waltz playing practically the ant-Bond looks like it has a shot to be a fair followup.Spectre Trailer Ring Logo

‘007: SPECTRE’ hits theaters this fall.

 

Bond 24 Has The Best Title Ever: ‘Spectre’


SPECTRE!

SPECTRE is back!

For all you kiddies who’ve only seen the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig films; SPECTRE is the original QUANTOM-esque terrorist organization.

blofeldThe OG threat to Bond, 007 encountered many SPECTRE agents in the 1960’s, but none more famous than Bond’s ultimate nemesis, Ernst Stravo Blofeld; a character that was portrayed by several actors, just like James Bond.

You may recognize the most common look of Blofeld, from ‘You Only Live Twice.’ Let me give you a hint, he was bald, had a scar on his face, wore a silly silver suit, and stroked a white kitty.

Check out the teaser-teaser-teaser-barely-a-trailer below. Really, it’s a video revealing the logo.

Now, pay attention to the poster. Doesn’t that bullet hole look like a spider or octopus? Spectre Teaser Poster

If not, here is OG SPECTRE’s Hydra-esque logo.

Eh? Eh? Look familiar now?
Eh? Eh? Look familiar now?

The official plot synopsis:

“A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.” Mr. Craig will be joined by Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista (as a henchman type character, I believe), Andrew Scott (Moriarty on Sherlock), and Monica Bellucci. Returning from Skyfall will be Naomi Harris (Eve Moneypenny), Ben Whishaw (Q) and Ralph Fiennes (replacing Judi Dench as “M”). Director Sam Mendes is returning, which makes this the first 007 film to be helmed by the same director twice in a row since License to Kill ended John Glenn’s run in 1989. Skyfall writers John Logan, Neil Purvis and Rob Wade are returning as well.”

But what does SPECTRE mean for Daniel Craig’s 007?

It means the movie will definitely bring back the feel of the old movies, less cold and brutal than ‘Casino Royale’ or even ‘Skyfall,’ bringing classic elements into the mix… and not just the SPECTRE organization.

Waltz in his breakout role in 'Ingourious Basterds.'
Waltz in his breakout role in ‘Ingourious Basterds.’

And the movie’s cast is loaded with great potential villains from the genius Christoph Waltz, to Andrew Scott whose Moriarty on BBC’s ‘Sherlock’ is the best TV baddie ever, and finally Dave Bautista (Drax in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’). And with that title, one expects either Waltz or Scott will be Blofeld!

Scott in BBC's SHERLOCK as Moriarty.
Scott in BBC’s SHERLOCK as Moriarty.

Really exciting title, that unlike ‘Skyfall’ gives us great insight into where the 007 franchise is headed. Great cast, Sam Mendes is back to direct, same writing team… how could it go wrong? (*Fingers Crossed*)

Mr. White of the Quantum organization from 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace'
Mr. White of the Quantum organization from ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’

But what about Quantum though? ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’ set up Mr. White and the Quantum organization, that, like SPECTRE, has political influence and carries out terrorist activity across the globe. Does Quantum turn out to be SPECTRE? Or where Quantum and Mr. White lazily kicked to the side after Quantum’s poor reception?

All will be answered November 6th, 2015.

Add ‘007: Spectre’ to that list of 2015 movies to see that already includes ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ ‘Jurassic World,’ ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ ‘Mission: Impossible 5,’ and many others. 2015 is going to be an expensive year for you geeks who don’t work at a movie theater.

Rejoice!

Is it too early to suggest Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain in ‘Bond 25?’

Benedict Cumberbatch for Bond villain OR 007 in 2017!
Benedict Cumberbatch for Bond villain OR 007 in 2017!

The 6 Best Sketches From THE PETE HOLMES SHOW


As of Saturday, November 30th 2013, the following are the cream of the crop sketches from the first few weeks of THE PETE,, HOLMES SHOW.

Pete Holmes PosterThose sketches I’ve already written about, because they were released first online, are not qualified for the following list. Because we’ve already covered those a month ago.

I will provide those links here, so that you can refresh yourself on the amazing sketches released before Pete Holmes’ show began…

WATCH GOOD WILL HUNTING WITH BATFLECK – Following the news that Ben Affleck is our new Batman, Pete Holmes quickly put his undeniable Batman impression to use.

WATCH PETE HOLMES FIRES WOLVERINE – What good is a hero with metal bones to a team whose nemesis can control metal?

WATCH BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN – What use is Batman to a god-like being: Superman? Is it an image thing?

WATCH PETE HOLMES FIRE GAMBIT – Ex-Men: Gambit

Now, without further ado, the five best sketches of THE PETE HOLMES SHOW RUN (through November 30th, 2013)!

6) BARTENDER PETE: PICK YOUR POISON


Continue reading “The 6 Best Sketches From THE PETE HOLMES SHOW”

‘Waiting for GTA V’ or ‘Types of Line Geeks’


GTA VSeveral days ago, on Monday September 16th, I waited in line twice to pick up my pre-ordered copy of GRAND THEFT AUTO V from Gamestop. First, I had to stand in line to get my group number at 6pm. Then, I had to wait in line from 11:00pm to the 12:01am Tuesday release date of the game.

I’m not complaining, bitching, or moaning; I could have (and should have) just picked up the game Tuesday morning and avoided the crowds. After all, I did preorder the game months ago; there would be a copy there waiting for me in the morning.

Though I wish to avoid all lines these days; I’ve waited in my fair share that require arrival hours in advance, whether I am waiting for a hot game system or the latest blockbuster. Each and every time I have found myself in such a line, I come across the same five geek archetypes. Without fail. Continue reading “‘Waiting for GTA V’ or ‘Types of Line Geeks’”

Keep Calm And… Take The Bloody Shot!


Best SKYFALL Shirt Ever...
Best SKYFALL Shirt Ever…

Let’s face it, I loved SKYFALL, you loved SKYFALL, we all loved SKYFALL. It is everyone’s favorite 007 movie. EVERYONES! (Obviously, I am exaggerating… a lot).

Well, it was my favorite, so when I saw this shirt on teespring.com from CommanderBond.net, my heart nearly stopped.

'Take the bloody shot!"
‘Take the bloody shot!”

But, like Bond, I survived the bloody… er… shock, in this time, so I was stocked to order it!

But the sale was over. TeeSpring is like Kickstarter in that a goal must be reached, in this case in 7 days, and once those 7 have passed, no dice (or in this case no shirt).

I sent a request over to CommanderBond.net and he reopened the sale, this time in sexy Navy blue. Navy, as in “Royal Navy Commander Bond” (his official cover/title).

Don’t miss your chance! Click http://teespring.com/takethebloodyshot-navy and make sure your favorite SKYFALL fan has one under the tree this Christmas.

Christmas Comes Early...
Christmas Comes Early…

After all, to quote Bond himself:

“I thought Christmas only comes once a year.”

….

For Thor’s sake, geek, at least buy one so the campaign gets to 50 and I get mine!

SKYFALL – Cain and Abel


SKYFALL SPOILERS ABOUND 

For SKYFALL viewers’s eyes only.

While surfing the web on this all-nighter, transistioning me from a closing shift to an opening one at AMC, someone on reddit, I came across a post where a fellow geek believe M and Silva to be James Bond’s biological parents. Which spurred me on to finally write another one of my ideas about the film…

If anything, Bond and Silva are metaphorical brothers.

Trust me, I’ve seen the film 5 and 1/2 times.

Silva is the older brother who couldn’t understand mother’s “call” aka his punishment for playing it too loose with the Chinese. Bond is the similarly disobedient younger son, though when he step outside “mother’s” wishes it is always for the good of Queen, Country, and MI6.

007 is put through a similar trial as his “older brother” – one that tests his faith in MI6 and M – yet he comes out the other-side as loyal as ever.

M trusts Bond due to this loyalty. She can have him shot, leave him in North Korea to be tortured, let him disappear and disobey orders, send him into the field when he is not at his peak… all because Bond will do ANYTHING to complete the mission. He’s the “son” who always returns.

Silva’s trials warped him, just as the arsenic tablet burned his insides. He was not the agent M thought him to be.

“At least I did something right,” M says this (or something similar) before she dies. Silva may (or may not) have ever been her favorite (she won’t admit it… aside the subtext of the final line), but now Bond has grown from an orphan into the best agent (“Orphans always make the best recruits.”). Her best “son.”

Silva obviously thinks of her as “mother,” he says it one way or another, many times. A mother who needs to be punished for betraying her “favorite” son, only to find a new favorite in Bond (after all Silva makes a point when 007 is tied to the chair, that it is about the three of them, not just he and M).

They are brother “rats” as mother “made” them.

Silva simply has fun playing with his younger brother while chasing his main prize. He even offers his “brother” a chance to join him, make his own missions. But Bond becomes less fun and more than just a silly annoyance when he stops Silva one too many times.

Bonds thoughts as M as surrogate mother are always hinted at, but made real when Bond mourns her passing. Very unlike this colder, new age 007. Even Vesper didn’t get that much grief.

SKYFALL is about two bothers, competing to save/murder their not-so-beloved mother.

A Better Class Of Criminal: Part I


“This city deserves a better class of criminal.”

Have you noticed a trend in your favorite blockbusters of late (well… “of late” meaning “the past 5 years or so…”)?

Are your villains more interesting? Do the actors portraying them have past Oscar nominations and/or can they overcome the action-movie stigma to achieve at least pipe-dreams of one? Are these bad guys crazier than normal? You know, more unique with a funny voice or passion for mayhem?

If you answered yes to any of those absurd questions, perhaps you, like me, feel that the past decade has produced some of the most memorable and unique villains in the history of cinema. (No, not just memorable because they’re recent, memorable because they’re so good it feels like they have  some real staying power.)

Javier Bardem as Silva in SKYFALL

2012 alone has been particularly giving, including last weekend’s SKYFALL, anchored by villain Javier Bardem. I’d like to take this time in “movie villain history” to recall past favorite villains of mine and compare them to the current crop that catch audience’s eyes for their originality (like Bane… that is some really bizarre shit).


Patterns will quickly emerge, suggesting that these modern villains we love to love for their originality, actually share quite a bit in common with one another. It’s less that each breaks the mold, more that each fits the current mold; a mold that itself has evolved from what came before. Even the mold is not original, it has simply built on our past, perfecting the traits of a great villains past rather than inventing them.

My personal favorite antagonists from decades past range from those widely-considered classics to a few lesser appreciated gems (especially recently)*:

*I am a lover of film, but I am also only 24 years old, so I apologize if my naturally limited knowledge of films before the 70s cause me to leave out an obvious villain for this list. Likewise, I am writing this all in one night (instead of sleeping); I’m confident that later today I will be like “oh fuck, I can’t believe I forgot ___________!”

*Also, to set up some sort of limits as to what qualifies as a villain/antagonist/bad guy, I’ve decided to draw the line at  live-action man. No sharks a la JAWS, dinosaurs a la JURASSIC PARK, no machines a la 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and no animated baddies like Gollum. After all, though many (including myself) would argue three of the four preceding examples are incredibly emotive/iconic in their execution, are they really the same as an actor doin’ their thang’?

*Finally, to simplify shit even further, I eliminated any characters who may be imaginary, a la FIGHT CLUB.

TOP CLASSIC BADDIES

“No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

1964 – Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) – Really set the mold for the classic Bond villain better than DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE had established before. Besides keeping a light and witty rapport with the hero, Goldfinger seems to take great pleasure in his own eccentricities, something we will see time and time again in the Bond universe and elsewhere.

It is this pleasure in action I am trying to drive home today, this aspect that is essential for an interesting antagonist today.

1977, 1980, 1983 – Darth Vader, uhhhh I’m not even gonna say what movie he’s from cause I’m insulted – Obvious choice. No one is more ruthless than him. None more iconic. He’ll death grip the shit out of his own men. And look great doing it. The guy to imitate when it comes to getting results from your henchmen.

And even back in his day we were using tricks like interesting voices and masks (again, see Bane) to give villains identity in a world full of ’em.

1981Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK –  Rene Belloq is my favorite type of villain, the doppelganger; that is, a baddie who is very similar to our hero/nearly the mirror opposite. Belloq and Indiana Jones are both archaeologists, peers in their field, but they differ in methods. As Belloq tells Jones, “I am but a shadowy reflection of you, it would take only a nudge to make you like me.”
 

1982 – Khan (Ricardo Montalban), STAR TREK II: WRATH OF KHAN – It never hurts to make it personal, not for the audience at least.

Not JAWS 3 or TAKEN-I-want-my-daughter personal. More like the villain feels as though the protagonist has personally wronged them, personal. So, rather than the good guy going on a rampage limited by what makes him a good guy, you have a sadistic madman who don’t give a shit ’bout no’body out to settle a score, and no one will stand in his way. When this happens, there are no Innocent and the world (and/or the universe) burns.

So is the case with Kahn who seeks revenge on Kirk for marooning him on a baron planet, and so will be the case with one of the top villains of 2012.

1987 – Joshua (Gary Busey) with an assist by Endo, LETHAL WEAPON – Joshua is perfect parts crazy and loyal as proved by the classic flame-to-arm scene. Besides, it’s hard to forget that crazy cop on crazy mercenary beat-down with Riggs (Mel Gibson). Joshua would also be considered a doppelganger for Riggs (noticing some patterns here?).

And as far as Endo goes, one need only quote Mr. Joshua, “Endo here has forgotten more about dispensing pain than you and I will ever know.”

Live or die by that reputation, Endo.

Live or die.

1988 – Hans Gruber, DIE HARD – Fine, I admit that so far, very few of my choice are controversial or unknown. Don’t worry, that comes later, like in the 90s where nostalgia clouds my judgement.

Characters popular in the 80s are in-proportionality represented on this list because it’s a personal favorite time period in cinema. Like today, villains were quirky and took great joy in their “work.” Gruber didn’t just have a killer, well thought-out master-plan; he also had fun! (Sound familiar?)

1989 – The Joker (Jack Nicholson), BATMAN – Really, who has more fun killing people than the Joker? The Joker is supposed to be having the time of his life, even when things don’t go according to plan. Jack doesn’t disappoint, though his version still pales in comparison to that of Mark Hamill.  Goddamn it though if the man doesn’t commit.


1989
– The South African Consulate’s Minister of Affairs and his Henchmen, LETHAL WEAPON 2 – “Diplomatic Immunity,” really says it all, don’t it?

(Answer: “Yes, it don’t. It really don’t.”)

A little advice, don’t kill the hot South African chick Riggs is fucking AND THEN tell him you murdered his wife. That is, unless you want your house pulled down a mountain.

That shit’s just super personal, and Riggs goes the appropriate amount of ape shit, like 007 post-Vesper.

NOSTALGIA SETS IN: VILLAINS FROM MY FORMATIVE YEARS

1995 – Alec Trevelyan aka 006 aka Janus (Sean Bean), GOLDENEYE  – There’s a reason 006 was/possibly is still my favorite Bond villain. Again, everything’s super-personal (he’s Bond’s old friend, plus Bond scarred him by “setting the timers for 3 instead of 6.” He knows MI6 and is another perfect example of a doppelganger (perhaps the most perfect as Bean was nearly hired as Bond). All the correct chips are in play, driven home by all the witty banter between “006” and 007, up until the end.

006 for a new

millennium006 shares quite a few similarities with the still to be discussed Silva from SKYFALL, and is certainty a precursor for the new villain. His past drives him a different direction than “For Queen and Country” Bond, feeling a similar need for revenge to that of Javier Bardem’s character.

1995 – John Doe (don’t wanna spoil the surprise), SEVEN – He’s certainly one of the most quirky/sadistic killers on film. And he knows how to deliver an unbelievable third act, important for any villain worth his salt (if that is even a saying).

Returning our attention to 006, while he’s always great, but it’s the combo of an incredibly strong introduction action scene and the finale showdown that cement his role in 007 history. Likewise, with an ending like that of SEVEN,  I doubt we’ll forget this serial killer soon.

1997 – Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio), MEN IN BLACK – Really, unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, D’Onofrio’s performance of a space roach in an “Edgar” suit still astounds. Certainly one of the most “out there” threats. Again, fun work with the acting and voice make for fun times at cinemas.

1998 – Don Rafeal Montero (Stuart Wilson) &  Captain Love (Matt Letscher), THE MASK OF ZORRO – Double the doppelgangers, double the fun!

With old Zorro facing his old arch-nemesis (who just happened to accidentally murder his wife then intentionally -d’uh – steal his daughter) and new Zorro facing his brother’s killer, after years of training and dreams of revenge. Really, Nick Doll’s wet-dream.

From the director of the aforementioned GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE, Martin Campbell, I like to think of MASK OF ZORRO as the movie Campbell made simple because he couldn’t, at that juncture, make a 007 movie. ZORRO follows all the rules of 007 from the detective work, to the “Bond” girl, to a madman with a country changing plot, Don Rafeal Montero, his lead henchman, Captain Love, and an epic, explosive finale.

2002 – Norman Osbourne (Willem Dafoe) aka The Green Goblin, SPIDER-MAN – “Work was murder”

Now, there’s an actor who chewed the scenery in the best way possible. Whether realistic or not, Dafoe’s approach to the over-the-top Green Goblin set the standard for modern comic book movie villains like those of the AVENGERS and DARK KNIGHT.

Limited by an expressionless mask, Dafoe does a lot with a little. His conversation with “the Goblin” is thing of super hero movie legend, making it ok for mechanical arms, black goo, sand, and lizards to talk to mad scientists in SPIDER-MAN sequels for years to come.

Talking to yourself is a unique place to go with your villain, and comics like Spider-Man nearly demand it.  What is most important and fun about the character though is, again, the extreme joy felt by “Gobby” whilst terrorizing Spider-Man and New York. This really laid the groundwork for silver screen villains like Loki.

If they were to cast Norman Osbourne in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 tomorrow, I’d insist it remain Willem Dafoe. He embodied a comic character perfectly even before RDJ ever became Tony Stark.

We’ll continue this analysis of the modern blockbuster villain as derived from his aforementioned history next time on BREAKING GEEK in “A Better Class Of Criminal: Part II” including the final era of movie villains,  “Adult” Life: Nearly Modern To Today… And Beyond! 

Find out what Bane, Joker, and Silva all have in common!

Find out which villainous strategy is hot, hot hot! (clue: Joker, Bane, Loki, and Silva all recommend it!)

All this and more! On BREAKING GEEK!

Breaking SKYFALL (SPOILERS) Part I


Thoughts on SKYFALL after first viewing…

SPOILERS AHEAD, BUDDY!

Even Switching Actors, Bond is Getting Too Old For This Shit

I know it’s been touched on before in other Bond films, but never has 007’s age been as discussed so often as in SKYFALL.

Bond is not in his 90s as he should technically be (ignoring the partial reboot), as the late thirties/early forties character celebrates his 50th anniversary this year. Yet the fact he is an aging star on MI6’s roster is still a concern to M’s boss, Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). Mind you, Mallory seems set on punishing M after she loset the “knock list” (at least that’s what it is called in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE); a list of every NATO undercover operative in the field.

The truth we find, is that 007 has indeed “lost a step,” allowed back into the field despite the fact he failed all his examinations; physical and mental. Perhaps his age, but more likely the physical/emotional wound he carries as a result of M’s call that got him shot (including his drinking problem), Bond is off his game and he is sent into the field by M for one simple reason… he is James-Fucking-Bond.

It’s the same reason a single  government authority character always, often secretly, unleashes an agent that “doesn’t always respect authority and play by the rules” to get the job done: think Jack Bauer, Ethan Hunt, John McClain, Murtaugh and Riggs, etc. He may be unstable or even off his game, but he’s still the only man for the job.

Bond is M’s favorite, her prized stallion who has prevented World War III numerous times, as we’ve watched over the decades.

Honestly, who can blame her? Like I said, 007’s saved the world at least 22 times even before SKYFALL fades in.

But, what’s in it for Bond? The man is loyal to Queen and country (what you’d call a “modern day boy scout” here in the US), but how can all MI6 agents remain as valiant, especially those who feel abandoned by M?

They can’t all be 007 – The Villain

Silva (Javier Bardem) combines aspects seemingly inspired by the terror and meticulous planning of the Joker, the excitement, faith, and overall joy of Loki during his own unfurling plot, the relationship/doppelganger-status of 006; all this while wielding some classic Bond villain eccentricities (one of which is rather progressive in its blatancy, yet not new to the franchise). Bardem is, simply, my 2nd favorite Bond villain behind my long favorite, 006.

Silva’s way cooler, scarier, and more sadistic than a man with a Golden Gun (also with million dollar bullets), a glorified banker/terrorist who weeps blood, a homicidal media mogul, or a fat man with a gold fetish and an assistant named Pussy. Though it’s a 360 from NO COUNTRY’s Anton Chigurgh, Bardem’s SKYFALL antagonist is goddamn perfect and instantly classic.
Once Bond finally uses his detective skills (highlighted in D. Craig’s CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE) to track the mad man down, he finds him to be from M’s past; her favorite agent prior to 007. Agent Silva was reckless like Bond, too reckless, so he too ended up a casualty of espionage.
Captured (or traded even, I can’t remember), Silva suffered various tortures for M and MI6, even using his cyanide capsule to die rather than talk. Trouble is, his capsule malfunctioned, horribly scaring him instead of killing him. So, he has a brace that gives him Jaws-esque teeth and un-smushes his melted face. Hence, the eccentric villain trait a la scar, or crying-blood, or not feeling pain, yada, yada, yada. Combine that with the interesting choice of a scene between Bond and Silva where Silva nearly puts the moves on the fly superspy; making him blatantly homosexual unlike QUANTUMS’s more ambiguous, possibly gay Frenchman and henchman duo.
Like 006, Silva is personal. He has simply set his sights on M, not 007. Personal is best. It… makes things… more personal……Just trust me on that! And see LETHAL WEAPON 1 & (even more so) 2, TAKEN, and the third act of CASINO ROYALE for proof how fun personal really is.Also like 006, he is the shadowy reflection of Bond, the super talented MI6 agent gone rogue.
Silva is scary yet a lot of fun, Joker style. Even more so, he takes great joy in his work, a trait he also shares with Loki; a trait that I love seeing in “super”-villains. The scene in which he is incarcerated reminded me very much of Loki in the Hulk’s cage in AVENGERS. The baddie is just having too much of a laugh for us to be comfortable.
Of course, it is easy to be cocky when everything is going exactly to your months-in-progress, perfectly thought out, intricate to account for the last detail plan, another fun villain trick shared with the Joker.
It doesn’t hurt that academy-award winner Javier Bardem is acting the shit out of the role, earning this Bond villain a place alongside one of my lifetime’s other top tier baddies, Javier’s Anton Chigurgh from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.Really, it’s hard for me to think of a more perfect storm of villainy than this Joker, Loki, 006, Chigurgh cocktail of crazy, which is why he is an instant favorite, at least second (but possibly better than) to my personal fav Bond baddie, the much aforementioned 006, played by the delicious Sean Bean.
And besides (again folks, BIG SPOILERS), Silva gets some pretty damn nasty things done; things that alter the Bond universe as it has been for nearly two decades.
BATMAN BEGINS = Skyfall
So, what, after all this time, is Skyfall? To what does the title of Bond’s 23rd adventure refer?
Is is a master plot? A super satellite weapon? The name of a villain?
(AGAIN, FUCKIN’ SPOILERS PEOPLE)

Skyfall is Bond’s childhood home. Though not nearly as fancy, it’s essentially his Wayne Manor.  His father’s house. He even has his own Alfred!In some ways, SKYFALL shares more in common with BATMAN BEGINS than the reboot CASINO ROYALE did. It’s really the first time we see any sign of Bond’s childhood or non-MI6 possesssions/holdings. We get a better idea of where this orphan has come from, while having to endure far less exposition than in the introduction of other special cinematic childhood orphans (like Harry Potter, or Peter Parker, or Bruce Wayne).Really, it is simply a taste a of Bond’s past we’ve never see before, besides several references to his being orphaned throughout the franchise, such as in GOLDENEYE where 006 mentions Bond’s parents died in a skiing accident.

SKYFALL is a fun title for Bond fans then, as it sounds like an odd name for a house, just as Bond author Ian Fleming himself resided in Goldeneye (the name of which was taken for the feature film).

Fitting that Ian Fleming, who has written himself into the character of Bond in his novels. Now the two have history or living in manors named after what sound like villainous plots and/or villains themselves.

I have a lot more to ponder and discuss from today’s SKYFALL, including fun winks the 50th Anniversary Film allows itself at earlier chapters as well as the universe changing events of the third act.

But, alas I’m off to see the film again now, so I’ll have to dissect it more following  another viewing.